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Rafting Tour on the Firth River, Canada

| CA-NRA1202

Unique rafting adventure on an ancient river in Yukon


Join this unforgettable rafting expedition on the Firth River in Ivvavik National Park for an adventure to remember!


  • Caribou Herd
  • Ivvavik National Park
  • British Mountains
  • Buckland Hills
  • Nunaluk Spit
  • The Arctic Ocean
  • Beaufort Sea
  • Mackenzie Delta

This 12-day rafting adventure takes you through the stunning Ivvavik National Park in northern Yukon, home to amazing wildlife like the musk ox and caribou!  This trip offers the most hiking opportunities of any of our Arctic rafting trips.  It is an arctic and sub-arctic wilderness of incredible beauty with a rich and complex ecosystem.  It truly is the hidden gem of Canada’s arctic.

Starting in Inuvik, the voyage transports you through the diverse Firth River Valley, which still bears the marks of ancient Inuit hunters on its banks. The Arctic landscape of Ivvavik alternates between barren lands of tundra, wildflowers, forests and the jagged peaks of the British Mountains.

This tour stands out from other Canadian river expeditions for its unique wildlife-watching opportunities and 24 hours of daylight. June and July are the months of migration for the huge Porcupine caribou herd.  In addition to caribou, musk ox, Dall sheep, wolves, grizzly bears and many species of raptors are often seen.  The Firth River has some challenging Class III rapids, but beginner paddlers are welcome on this trip.

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Small group
  • Expert guides
Availability Jun - Jul
Duration 12 days
Departs From Inuvik, NT
Difficulty Intermediate
Group maximum 12
Minimum age 6
Meet on Location No
Pick Up Yes


11 565
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability (2024):
Plus $222.25 for park fee

  • June 16-29
  • June 26-July 9 (Canadian Geographic Expedition)
  • June 30-July 13
  • July 12-25
  • July 14-28 (Parks Canada Expedition)

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What's Included


  • Charter flights
  • Canoeing equipment
  • Tents
  • Meals while on the river

What to bring

  • Warm and waterproof clothing
  • Hiking boots

Not Included

  • Land use fee
  • Hotel meals and accommodation

Contact us for more Information about this tour


You can also send an email to info@adventures.com, or use the contact form here below.

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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


woman having coffee in a tent

Our 12-day Firth River rafting expedition is perfect for both history buffs and wildlife enthusiasts. Ivvavik National Park contains a number of Indigenous archaeological sites and is an important wildlife habitat. Around 160,000 caribou cross the Firth River on the way to their calving grounds. That’s around 10% of the world’s entire caribou population!

This tour takes you through contrasting landscapes of barren lands and ancient mountains. Glide through calm waters and test yourself on the lively Class III rapids.

The 90-mi (150-km) tour, filled with hikes through the attractive wilderness and thrilling wildlife-watching spots, is suitable for all skill levels of paddlers and beginners are welcome.

Mackenzie River view in canada

We’ll leave from Inuvik Airport around 10 am. A charter flight will take us over the amazing maze of the Mackenzie River Delta, which is one of the largest in the world.

A Twin Otter plane will fly us through the Northwest Territories border with Yukon, all the way to Ivvavik National Park. This park located above the Arctic Circle has no road access, making it a truly remote destination, untouched by mass tourism.

Our journey will begin near the border with Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

While guides inflate the rafts and set up the camp, take your time to wander around and explore the beautiful surroundings.

herd crossing a river in canada

We’ll slowly glide through the river valley surrounded by peaceful and quiet barren land. Low river banks reveal unobstructed views of the rolling tundra and its wildlife.  Our rafts glide across deep clear pools full of arctic fish including grayling and char.

Look up to spot some birds hovering in the sky. The area is summer home to many migrating birds. Try to spot phalaropes, sandpipers, plovers, jaegers, terns, buntings, longspurs and even robins.

This area is a sanctuary for some majestic wild animals such as red fox, muskox, moose, and grizzly bears. Take advantage of our spotting scope and catch a glimpse of these charming creatures.

group hiking near canyons in canada

The Firth River is one of the oldest rivers in North America that remained unglaciated during the last Ice Age, thus creating a unique landscape. It was home to Inuits who, for more than 4,000 years, used the river as a source for food. They hunted moose, caribou, and fished for char.

Floating along the river we might find traces left by the indigenous cultures, so keep your eyes peeled! Once we settle in our camp, we might also find remains of old meat caches and stone rings that were used many years ago.

on the shore of firth river at summer

We’ll drift down the Joe Creek stream and reach a stunning canyon that stretches for 25 mi (40 km).

Here the landscape changes drastically, with volcanic rocks replacing limestone, and the rugged British Mountains rising up in the horizon. During the glacial period, the area was a land of woolly mammoths, giant beavers and saber-tooth cats.

The river maneuvers between the jagged peaks, and tranquil pools alternate with fast rapids creating a challenging, but also an exciting path for us.

You may spot remains of stone fences built by Inuit hunters to funnel caribou into enclosures.

resting on the shore of firth river in canada

Today, we’ll approach some of the largest rapids on the river near the Sheep Creek. Drifting through furious rapids is a fun and challenging experience. Get ready for intense paddling and prepare to be rewarded for your hard work with incredible scenery that opens up in front of you!

We’ll set our camp partway through the wide canyon. This is a great area for hiking and exploring the surrounding area. Wherever you look, pristine wilderness stretches out in the horizon. The picturesque landscape with craggy mountains colored in cool pastel shades creates an idyllic picture.  Look up to spot cliff nests of majestic ravens and magnificent eagles.

small herd of caribou in a field

With a week in the wilderness behind us, it’s time to get well acquainted with the local fauna! We’ll spend the day tracking wildlife and trying to catch sight of diverse animals living in this Arctic Eden. The pristine wilderness around the river is a sanctuary for Dall sheep, wolves, and various raptors.

Here we might be able to witness something truly extraordinary. Every year, the Porcupine caribou herd crosses the Firth River on its remarkable journey to the coastal plains of Alaska and northern Yukon. Imagine hundreds of thousands of reindeer on their longest land migration route of any land mammal on Earth. They travel for over 1,500 mi (2,400 km) every year!

mountain landscape near firth river at summer

On Day 9, it’s time to climb a rocky knoll known as Engigstiack, an outcrop on the edge of the Beaufort Sea. Although it’s only a hundred feet tall, a wide view opens up from the top. We’ll observe the seemingly endless plains and the Beaufort Sea stretched out in front of us. Many centuries ago, this hill used to be an important site for hunters, who for 8,000 years would climb to the top of Engigstiack to gaze across the tundra and scope out prey.

musk ox roaming in a field in canada

Drifting across the plain we’ll reach the Firth Delta, where we’ll set our camp. The ground here is often covered in qiviut a fine hair that grows underneath the coarser outer coat of muskox. It’s one of the most precious wools in the world. We might even meet the hairy creatures themselves!

Firth River delta is a transitional zone between freshwater and marine environments that some fish. Dolly Varden trout use such waters for smoltification, an adaptation from living in freshwater to moving into salty sea waters.

We’ll enjoy an evening around a cozy campfire of driftwood, with warm and tasty dinner.  

rafting in firth river at canyons in canada

The river braids into smaller channels as we get closer to the Arctic Ocean. Sometimes the river gets too shallow for rafts, so we might walk along the tundra at times.

We’ll spend the night on the beach of Nunaluk Spit, where Firth River flows into the Arctic Ocean.

Look closely into the waves to catch sight of playful seals, charming beluga and bowhead whales splashing near Herschel Island, Yukon's only offshore island. First inhabited a thousand years ago, the island became a hub for commercial whale hunting. With the sea levels drastically raising, the island becomes smaller and smaller every year.

As our expedition comes to an end, the Twin Otter plane will take us back to Inuvik. After freshening up, we’ll gather for our final dinner together at the hotel.

Hotel accommodation for tonight is not included in the trip fee.

Pickup information

We’ll meet at  8 am, in the Arctic Chalet B&B in Inuvik, so please arrive at the hotel the night before.


Practical information

We’ll send out a list of all the things that you’ll need to bring for the tour after the booking confirmation.


Please note

5% GST and a $140.20 CAD land use fee are not included in the tour price.

You need to purchase a national park fishing license in advance from the Parks Canada office in Inuvik if you plan to fish.

Please plan your outbound flight at least a day after we come back to Inuvik.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.
  • A 30% deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 90 days before trip commencement.



Your deposit is refundable less a $100 administration fee until 90 days prior to your trip departure date - then your final payment will be due, and all deposits become non-refundable.

Trip Cancellation & Medical Evacuation Insurance is available, and highly recommended.

Insurance is refundable until the 90 day non-refundable period.